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What does the prefix be- do in german verbs?

In the dictionary, it appears that verbs like antworten and beantworten have the same meaning, for example. The same (supposedly) goes for schützen and beschützen.
I'd like to know if that's really the same, or if their meaning varies depending on context, or for some other reason.

Thanks.

For learning: German
Base language: English
Category: Language

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